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Monday, December 14, 2015

The Alliteration - The Alliteration (Creative Sources, 2014) ****

By Paul Acquaro

I am going to have to ask for forgiveness on this  ... as we wrap up 2015, it seems a bit ... umm ... untimely to mention this 2014 release, but it's one that was brought to my attention only recently, and one that is worth the brief breach of the time-space continuum.

The Alliteration's eponymous debut is a meta concept - I'm not sure if they chose the musicians based on their names, but it seems that it would be quite a feat to gamely gather these excellent Berlin based musicians with the cooperating qualities of sounds in their names otherwise: Nikolaus Neuser (trumpet), Manuel Miethe (soprano saxophone), Floros Floridis (clarinets), Gerhard Gschlössl (trombone), Antonis Anissegos (piano), Akira Ando (double bass) and Maurice de Martin (drums). The concept carries over to the song titles themselves: Aural Altitude, Being Between, Cypher Circle Song, Dark Diphthong, Equal Equals Equal, Fertile Fossils, and Gelbgold Gambit. 

So, there is the bit of textual fun and then there is the music, which is a highly listenable collection of free improvisation that is entirely engrossing. The group works as a collective, no one instrument dominates, though Anissegos' piano playing is an essential element, serving as a binding force between the horn work and the drums and bass. Often going into furious flights, the woodwind work of Floridis is complimented by the arc of the soprano sax and clean lines of the trumpet. What really stands out is the diversity of the moods of the pieces, each one with a distinct personality. Technically speaking, there isn't much over-blowing or pushing the instruments to the extreme, rather the music has a very lyrical quality to it.

The Alliteration's debut album's track list covered A - G. I'm looking forward to a new release covering H - N next!

Available at the Downtown Music Gallery.


Colin Green said...

Interesting. The choice of musicians and their alliterative names can't be a coincidence and gives the impression that they were selected primarily if not entirely, for non-musical reasons, like having a band all of whom share the same eye colour. But they work as a collective - what does this tell us about improvisation?

Dan S. said...

Seems like the impish kind of organizing principle Derek Bailey might have employed. It might be an argument for the resilience of the format, but then again, we are still selecting alliterative names from within the small group of musicians who all live in Berlin and are already improvisers.

Paul said...

Right - a small selection pool, a fun concept, why not? All are excellent players, and it comes together quite well.

Dan S. said...

I'm curious to seek it out, now. Anything with Floridis is worth some attention!

Eric McDowell said...

A bit Oulipo...